Teaching the old dog

Photo by Alexandru Rotariu on Pexels.com

There’s a saying out there from when I was young, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It never meant much to me back in my youth (a long time ago), but now that I have achieved a few years, I understand it much better. I have a terrible time figuring out new programs on a computer, I don’t know how to load “apps” on my telephone and when I pick up the mult-numbers of remotes for my television, I break into a cold sweat.

However, I found out this week, that I CAN learn new things. I had to do two things I have not tried before: constructing a small desk and conveying a purchase code from my account to my daughter. These may not seem like much to the young of the world, but to an old dog like me, they present a massive achievement.

“I ordered another small desk to add to my workspace,” I informed my husband one night.

“Fine, as long as you don’t need it too soon, because I’m at my busy time at work,” he said as he dashed for the door.

“I’ll put it together myself,” I was offended. “I’m not helpless, I can follow directions and construct things.”

“This is news to me,” he scoffed. “But if you’re so good at it, why don’t you finish putting together that stand lamp in the living room.”

“It IS put together!”

“It bends so much in the middle, it looks like it’s bowing,” and out the door he went.

Boy, that really revved me up! When that desk came, in about four million pieces, I was determined to get it together myself and then hide the one million pieces that I had no idea what to do with.

It was tough, and I wanted to give up. I was too old to learn how to do this. The fact that my ten-year-old grandson could do it in a half hour was not helpful to me, because he was miles away and he would have wanted too much money to keep his mouth shut about it to his grandfather.

I dived in. During the first hour, I opened that plastic package they send with all the screws and nuts and bolts in it, too roughly, and small metallic items went flying every direction and many of them were lost forever in the rug. I put the shelves on twice, once upside down and once right side up. Then, I decided it was time for the old dog to take a break. I don’t drink alcohol, but I sat in the living room and toasted the bowing lamp with my glass of soda.

Then, my daughter called. She needed a purchase code from my Amazon account. “If you need me to, I can get on a video call with you and help you through it.” This was just insulting! I could do it myself! And after about an hour and several abortive attempts, I was able to send her the image she was looking for.

She said, “That’s perfect!”

I preened with pride. “I’m a computer genius!” I was sure she would then praise me for figuring it out.

“You also sent me a picture of the cover of The Long Winter,” was her next remark.

“I thought you’d like it,” I lied, “So shut up and enjoy it.” And no, I can’t tell you how I got such a thing in there. The old dog can do a new trick, they just can’t explain it!

But, then I went back to desk assembly and I got done before my husband got home. I conducted him proudly back to the room and showed him the finished product.

After duly admiring it, or at least looking it over, he said, “I thought you were going to put the books shelves on the other way.”

“Well, yes, but those x-thingys weren’t marked very well and I put them on backwards. But this will work.”

“Why isn’t there a nut on this bolt,” was his next remark.

“I can’t find it,” I was not concerned. “It blends in with the rug. Besides, I don’t think all those nuts are the same size.”

“Some nuts are much bigger,” (it took me a while to figure out that zinger). “But this isn’t tight,” and he wiggled one, causing the whole thing to sway like a belly dancer.

“Don’t do that!” I yelled, “I lost that ellen thing and can’t tighten it any more!”

“The allen wrench?” he asked, trying hard not to smirk. “Well, if you’re satisfied with it, I guess it will do fine.”

I was elated. He said it would do fine! The old dog has learned a new trick! If you’re wondering why I didn’t post a picture of my new desk, it’s because I’m waiting until my husband has time to just “smooth over the rough edges.” Maybe if he can tighten some of the bolts, it will lose that tilt and sway it’s got going on right now. But it’s done! And I did it! So see, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks…or at least portions of them!


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